- Words Solly Warner
- Photography Talie Rose Eigeland
- MUA Ari Munteanu
Navigating through a new dreamscape, Ruby Duff shares her latest whimsical single “Zoom” and chats about what we can expect from the budding artist.
Lullabies, musicals and operatic acrobatics come together to form Ruby Duff’s alt-pop sound. Though these may not be themes you’d typically hear on pop radio, Ruby’s music looks to create many worlds of wonder. The 23-year-old’s songs are full of exuberance, bursting with surprises and theatrical experimentation.
“Zoom” is the newcomer’s latest single and is a magical journey to say the very least. Bold as ever, the new track is led by divine vocals and enchanting melodies and comes complete with an equally mystical music video. The trippy stop-motion animation features monsters, aliens and a magical music box, which all fuel Ruby’s pure imagination. “Zoom” is just the latest addition to a collection of unique songs full of unpredictability and mystery.
Despite her age, there is a wisdom that exudes from Ruby and her music. Sounding classical yet from the future, the young artist is creating her own realm. It will be exciting to discover where she takes her listeners next and what will be hiding behind the next corner.
In conversation with Notion, the celestial singer talks about what it’s been like to be an emerging artist during these times, her personal affiliation with elephants, and what we can expect from a Ruby Duff album.
- T-shirt Quantum Courage
- Jeans Quiksilver
How has it been to be a young emerging artist during these strange times and what have you been able to learn?
It’s been both frustrating and empowering. With having more time on my hands, I found it difficult to not be as productive as usual however this forced my brain to wind down, allowing room for creativity…the most important process for an artist! This has made me realise how important it is to have some quiet days as well as the busy ones, to really get the most out of my imagination.
Have you been able to focus more time into your creative process or has it been a struggle?
With the above being said, I have been ‘getting into my own head’ a lot more than usual in that at times I have felt less confident and questioned my creative process. I guess, usually, I rely on other people around me to provide support and reassurance for example when writing a track with a producer. However it has forced me into learning to produce myself more, and taking ownership over upcoming projects, which is quite liberating.
- Jumper Quiksilver
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Although our music is nothing alike, I’ve always admired Macklemore, both musically and what he stands for. He preaches the importance of family, friends and living your life – the good and bad of it without any judgement, which is so important to gaining any inspiration for music. I remember when I saw him live he mentioned that we all have scars (physically and mentally) and that we should not be scared to show them yet instead wear them as badges or time stamps of our existence and story.
Judy Garland is also someone I have looked up to since a young age. When I started singing at the age of four I remember my vocal coach tried to knock the northern out of me with some ‘proper’ pronunciation lessons (cue my fair lady). From this we studied a lot of Judy Garlands work, and of course with my ADHD dreamland mind I was obsessed with the Wizard of Oz. It got so excessive, that I even lied to my school teachers saying we had changed family names to Dorothy – quite cunning for a primary kid I would say. But I guess my favourite thing about Judy is her originality within her vocal tone and the way she expresses herself like no one else I’ve ever heard.
Congratulations on the release of your latest single “Zoom”. Can you tell us what inspired this song and what it is about?
Zoom is about noticing what is around you… The people, your feelings, your thoughts and vision. When you begin to notice the small things and pay attention to both the ugly and beautiful, you could write a novel, a movie, or in my case a song.
- T-shirt Quantum courage
Do you have a favourite lyric from the new song?
Yes, actually it’s the same as my sisters favourite part (that she likes to sing/shout 5 octaves higher in the kitchen) “Dreams of Jungle Beams, and incomplete human beings”. Meaning, that without limitation, your imagination can come to life if we accept our imperfect being.
During your creative process, is there a regular process you go through? Does the melody come first or is it the lyrics?
Dreams trigger my songwriting, for reasons unknown to me, and it’s like someones just given me a song. I can’t quite explain it but a lot of the time the words just fall out of my mouth naturally. Actually I touch on speaking about it in ‘Zoom’ with the lyric “Your dreams come alive, let us be us tonight” – because my dreams make me who I am and that makes my music. I have a rule that if I don’t wake up remembering the melody the next morning – well then it must have been a crap song. But if I do, then I hum it out loud first thing (which my housemates love) and record it on my phone. Only when I listen back can I hear the exact instruments I want to use.
- Dress Ashlea Rockett
- T-Shirt Quantum Courage
- Jeans Quiksilver
- T-shirt DC clothing
Can you remember the first song you ever wrote?
Oh man, sharing this could break or make my career, as I actually looked through my first songbook the other day and weirdly enough can embarrassingly remember the exact moment I wrote my first song. I was in my bunk bed, aged 5, which lay parallel to 3 images of a cartoon elephant. I somehow strongly felt this elephant resembled me, with the images of it talking to snails, painting pictures, and eating cake. This, amongst other reasons, contributed as to why I now have three elephants tattood on my back because it was the song that kickstarted my songwriting.
How does Ruby Duff spend her spare time away from music?
I love to be outdoors. I am super energetic so love to be out doing activities like surfing and skating. I also enjoy making art and eating loads of CAKE (so much so the i had to write a song about it…)
- T-Shirt Quantum Courage
Are there any artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Yes, both Labrinth and Bon Iver. I have loved their stuff for a long long time and think that they bring a really refreshing and interesting sound to contemporary music. They break boundaries and aren’t scared of the commercial scene, which is something I truly respect.
I’m sure your fans are hoping for a larger project to come sometime soon. What can people expect from a Ruby Duff album?
Imagine a soundtrack for Hieronymus Bosch moving image ‘The garden of earthly delights’ … that’s what you can expect.